Dictionary of Irish Architects 1720 - 1940

Ironfounder and builder, of Dublin. Richard Turner was born in about 1798, a younger son of Timothy Turner, merchant of Clare Street, Dublin. The Turners had been ironmongers in Dublin from at least the middle of the eighteenth century.(1) It is possible that Richard worked with his uncle, another Richard Turner, who had an ironmongery business at No. 4 St Stephen's Green North from 1813 or earlier, as he inherited the business in due course. He also invested in property by leasing plots of land and building houses on them which he then sold. This helped him to acquire the funds with which to buy a large site in Ballsbridge and build an iron foundry. The Hammersmith Ironworks opened in 1834, specializing in the construction of glasshouses. In the early days, a partner named Walker was involved in the glazing side of the manufacture, but the partnership ended in 1843.(2)

Turner, a man of great energy and enterprise, built up a thriving business and carried out commissions throughout Britain and Ireland and perhaps even as far afield as Russia. His most spectacular building to survive is the Palm House at Kew (1844-1848). His firm was singled out by a writer in The Builder in 1856 as the 'one great manufacturing house' in the 'slumbering metropolis' of Dublin: 'Mr Richard Turner, of Hammersmith‚Ķimports his iron and coal from England; maintains a foundry and forges there, which occupy an area of 6 acres, together with another of two acres in the city, employs very numerous hands, and has successfully competed with the Titanic furnaces of manufacturing Birmingham'.(3) In the mid 1840s he opened premises in London. THOMAS DREW THOMAS DREW , writing in 1880, remembered Turner 'in his vigorous days' as 'ubiquitous, with a stock of daring and original projects always on hand, remarkable for his rough-and-ready powers of illustration of them, and his sanguine belief in them, and his eloquent, plausible, and humorous advocacy of them'.(4) Among these projects was one of the many schemes for a channel tunnel between England and France, consisting of a semi-circular iron tube 'laid on a level bed 96 feet under low water in continuation of existing lines of railway'.(5)

Turner continued to build and develop houses in the Dublin area. In 1844 WILLIAM MURRAY  WILLIAM MURRAY took offence when Turner provided plans for a house on which Murray was already employed.(6) In 1855 GEORGE PAPWORTH' GEORGE PAPWORTH' s obituarist in the Builder quoted 'an Irish civil engineer' as saying that Turner copied Papworth's style of architecture and 'took pattern from him at Kingstown, Harcourt Street and Pembroke-road'.(7) Turner's houses were generously furnished with ironwork in the form of staircases, balconies, porches, and conservatories.

In 1857 JOHN WILLIAM GIBSON  JOHN WILLIAM GIBSON became Turner's managing partner, an arrangement which lasted until 1862,(8) during which time the business went under the name of Turner & Gibson. Gibson's name disappears from the directories in 1863, when Richard Turner's son WILLIAM TURNER WILLIAM TURNER , who had run the firm's smaller Oxmantown Foundry at 103-104 North King Street is named as being in charge of both the Hammersmith and Oxmantown concerns.(9) Though the administration of the business fell to William Turner, his father, now described in the directories simply as 'engineer', continued to be actively involved at least until 1868, when he drew up plans for widening of the wings of the curvilinear range at the Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin.(10)

Richard Turner died on 31 October 1881 at the age of eighty-three. He had married Jane Goodshaw (c.1793-1865), daughter of T. Goodshaw of Collumswell, Leixlip, Co. Kildare, in about 1816 and had at least nine children, including the architect THOMAS TURNER. H THOMAS TURNER. H e was buried with his wife in the family plot at Mount Jerome Cemetery.

Addresses: 3-5 St Stephen's Green;(11)  Hammersmith Ironworks, Ballsbridge, 1834 until death; also 1 Bath Place, New Road, London, <=1847->=1857.

See WORKS.



References

All information in this entry not otherwise accounted for is from E.J. Diestelkamp, 'Richard Turner (c.1798-1881)and his glasshouses', Glasra 5 (1981), 51-53, and E. Charles Nelson, 'Richard Turner: an introductory portrait', Moorea 9 (Dec 1990), 3-5. Both articles are illustrated with the same portrait photograph of Turner, dating from early 1865 and now in the collection of the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin.


(1) MS. cash book of Michael Wills, Acc. 80/81, records payments to Richard Turner, ironmonger, in 1753, to Rebeka Turner, ironmonger, in 1756, and to Tim Turner, ironmonger in 1757 and 1758, while various payments to Timothy and Rebecca Turner dating from between 1744 and 1766 are recorded in the tradesmen's bills in the Trinity College muniments (MUN/P/2). A notice of Rebecca Turner's closing down sale is in Faulkner's Dublin Journal, 8-12 Sep 1767. For Timothy Turner (fl. 1743-1766) see Miriam O'Connor, 'Timothy Turner, an eighteenth-century Dublin ironsmith', Irish Arts Review 12 (1996), 141-2.
(2) Turner & Walker were in partnership when they gained the contract for erecting the two wings of the glass-house in the Belfast Botanic Gardens in 1839, but an advertisement in the Post Office Dublin Directory for 1844, p.513, announces that 'Turner and Walker have quite ceased to be Partners'.
(3) B 14, 19 Apr 1856, 216.
(4) Building News, 19 Mar 1880, ?.
(5) B 13, 22 Dec 1855, 628.
(6) RIAI minutes, 22 Jan 1844 (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc. 2008/44).
(7) B 13, 22 Dec 1855, 628.
(8) ICEI membership applications, I, 48.
(9) Diestelkamp, op. cit., above, gives the year as 1863.
(10) Repr. in E.J. Diestelkamp, 'The curvilinear range at the National Botanic Gardens', Mooraea 9 (Dec 1990), figs. 22,23;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 534.


36 work entries listed in chronological order for TURNER, RICHARD *


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Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CASTLE STREET, DUBLIN CASTLE
Date: 1830s
Nature: Foliated cast iron balustrade to stair attr. to RT.
Refs: Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 353.

Building: CO. FERMANAGH, COLEBROOKE PARK
Date: 1833-34ca;1835-37ca
Nature: Conservatory. Diestelkamp dates central section, c. 1833-4 and wings, c. 1835-7; but cf. payment to William Turner, 1864, for 'Conservatory with the winged projection' in Brookeborough papers in PRONI.
Refs: E.J. Diestelkamp, 'Richard Turner and his glasshouses', Glasra 5 (1981), 52

Building: CO. TIPPERARY, MARLFIELD (CLONMEL)
Date: 1835-1840ca
Nature: Conservatory.
Refs: E.J. Diestelkamp, 'Richard Turner (c.1798-1881)and his glasshouses', Glasra 5 (1981), 52

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PHOENIX PARK, VICE-REGAL LODGE
Date: 1836-37
Nature: Range of peach houses.
Refs: Drawing(s) in NA, PRO collection, old ref. G.4.1; E.J. Diestelkamp, 'Richard Turner (c.1798-1881)and his glasshouses', Glasra 5 (1981), 52;  Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 295.

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, STRANMILLIS ROAD, BOTANIC GARDEN
Date: 1839-1840
Nature: Architect: Charles Lanyon. Turner & Walker contractors for first stage (i.e. two wings), 1839-40. FS laid 22 Jun 1839. Turner's palm house at Kew appears to have influenced design of central dome, built by Young of Edinburghin or after 1852.
Refs: Belfast News Letter, 22 May 1840, 1-2; Eileen McCracken, The Palm House and Botanic Garden, Belfast (UAHS, 1971), 36-42(illus.); E.J. Diestelkamp, 'Richard Turner (c.1798-1881)and his glasshouses', Glasra 5 (1981), 52

Building: CO. FERMANAGH, BELLEVUE (ENNISKILLEN)
Date: 1839-1840
Nature: Conservatory.
Refs: E.J. Diestelkamp, 'Richard Turner (c.1798-1881)and his glasshouses', Glasra 5 (1981), 52

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, BROADSTONE, RAILWAY STATION (MIDLAND GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY TERMINUS)
Date: 1841p
Nature: Segment-headed iron roofs to Passenger Shed, designed and constructed by RT. Collapsed in 1847 and replaced by new roof constructed by G.W. Hemans.
Refs: Christine Casey, The Buildings of Ireland: Dublin (2005), 283.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PHOENIX PARK, CHIEF SECRETARY'S LODGE
Date: 1842
Nature: Conservatory.
Refs: E.J. Diestelkamp, 'Richard Turner (c.1798-1881)and his glasshouses', Glasra 5 (1981), 52

Building: CO. DUBLIN, KILLAKEE
Date: 1843
Nature: Conservatory, for Mr White.
Refs: Charles McIntosh, The Book of the Garden (1853), 376; E.J. Diestelkamp, 'Richard Turner (c.1798-1881)and his glasshouses', Glasra 5 (1981), 52

Building: SCOTLAND, HADDO HOUSE
Date: 1844-1845
Nature: Greenhouse ranges, for Earl of Aberdeen.
Refs: B 14, 19 Apr 1856, 216; E.J. Diestelkamp, 'Richard Turner (c.1798-1881)and his glasshouses', Glasra 5 (1981), 52

Building: ENGLAND, KEW (LONDON), PALM HOUSE
Date: 1844-1848
Nature: Designed in conjunction with Decimus Burton.
Refs: B 14, 19 Apr 1856, 216; E.J. Diestelkamp, 'Richard Turner (c.1798-1881)and his glasshouses', Glasra 5 (1981), 52Sue Minter, The Greatest Glass House (HMSO, 1990), 2-4(illus.)

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, PATRICK'S CLOSE, MARSH'S LIBRARY
Date: 1845
Nature: RT signs receipt for £20 for gates at library, 27 Feb 1845.
Refs: Marsh's Library archive, building accounts (IAA, Edward McParland files, Acc.2008/44).

Building: ENGLAND, LONDON, REGENT'S PARK, WINTER GARDEN
Date: 1845-46
Nature: Large iron and glass structure for Royal Botanical Society. Designed in cojunction with Decimus Burton. Also later adds., 1871, 1875?
Refs: E.J. Diestelkamp, 'Richard Turner (c.1798-1881)and his glasshouses', Glasra 5 (1981), 52; IB 17, 15 Aug 1875, ?

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, GLASNEVIN ROAD, BOTANIC GARDENS
Date: 1845-48
Nature: 'Curvilinear' glasshouse range. RT responsible for adoption of iron and glass construction in E wing (Archt: Duncan Ferguson. Contractor: William Clancy); contractor.for W wing and connecting corridors (Archt:Frederick Darley), contractor for central dome (Archt:Frederick Darley)
Refs: E.J. Diestelkamp, 'The curvilinear range at the National Botanic Gardens', Mooraea 9 (Dec 1990), 6-34(illus.)

Building: CO. WESTMEATH, BALLYNAGALL
Date: 1846
Nature: Conservatory.
Refs: E.J. Diestelkamp, 'Richard Turner (c.1798-1881)and his glasshouses', Glasra 5 (1981), 52 (IAA offprint corrected by EJD to 1846)

Building: ENGLAND, LIVERPOOL (LANCASHIRE), LIME STREET STATION
Date: 1847
Nature: Iron roof. For London & North Western Railway Co.
Refs: Richard Turner, 'Description of the Iron Roof over the Railway Station, Lime-street, Liverpool', Min.Proc.Inst.CE 9 (1849-50), 204-214(illus.) (summary in Civil Engineer and Architect's Journal 13 (Mar 1850), 105, and full article with illustrations in Vol. 14, 15 Mar 1851, 174-176.

Building: CO. LAOIS, RATH HOUSE
Date: 1847ca-1850
Nature: Conservatory.
Refs: E.J. Diestelkamp, 'Richard Turner (c.1798-1881)and his glasshouses', Glasra 5 (1981), 52

Building: CO. ANTRIM, BELFAST, YORK ROAD, RAILWAY STATION (BELFAST & BALLYMENA RAILWAY)
Date: 1848
Nature: Contract to complete entire roof of building, consisting of 2 span roofs of 240 ft by 65 ft, to satisfaction of Mr Lanyon, Chief Engineer (who presumably designed station) signed by RT. 6 Jan 1848. (Badly damaged in air raids, 1941.)
Refs: B of I; W.A. McCutcheon, Railway History in Pictures: Ireland(1969), II, 36,82

Building: CO. GALWAY, GALWAY, RAILWAY STATION (MIDLAND GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY)
Date: 1850
Nature: 80ft span roof consisting of simple curved beams and covered with corrugated iron with glass in the centre.. First design of its kind in Ireland
Refs: Min.Proc.Inst.CE 14, 265

Building: CO. WESTMEATH, MIDDLETON PARK
Date: 1850ca
Nature: Conservatory.
Refs: E.J. Diestelkamp, 'Richard Turner (c.1798-1881)and his glasshouses', Glasra 5 (1981), 52

Building: CO. LAOIS, BALLYFIN
Date: 1850ca
Nature: Conservatory
Refs: E.J. Diestelkamp, 'Richard Turner (c.1798-1881)and his glasshouses', Glasra 5 (1981), 52; Sean O'Reilly, Irish Houses & Gardens, 169

Building: CO. WEXFORD, EDERMINE
Date: 1850ca
Nature: Conservatory.
Refs: E.J. Diestelkamp, 'Richard Turner (c.1798-1881)and his glasshouses', Glasra 5 (1981), 52

Building: CO. TYRONE, ROXBOROUGH CASTLE
Date: 1850ca-1855
Nature: Conservatory. For Francis William Caulfield, 2nd Earl of Charlemont.
Refs: E.J. Diestelkamp, 'Richard Turner (c.1798-1881)and his glasshouses', Glasra 5 (1981), 52.

Building: ENGLAND, LONDON, 1851 EXHIBITION BUILDING (CRYSTAL PALACE)
Date: 1851
Nature: Submitted design with Thomas Turner Jan 1850 and was then an entrant in subsequent competition. Only design which had transepts. Exhibits model in Liverpool Jan 1850.
Refs: Architect & Building Operative [Gazette] 2, 24 Jan 1850, 41;  Min.Proc.Inst.CE 10 (1850-51), 166-168(illus.); B 14, 19 Apr 1856, 216; Robert Young, Reminiscences(????), 114-5; Roger Harper, Victorian Architectural Competitions (1983), 89

Building: ENGLAND, KEW (LONDON), VICTORIA REGIA HOUSE
Date: 1852
Nature: New. (To house Victoria Regia water lily)
Refs: B 14, 19 Apr 1856, 216; E.J. Diestelkamp, 'Richard Turner (c.1798-1881)and his glasshouses', Glasra 5 (1981), 52 (Sue Minter, The Greatest Glass House (HMSO, 1990), 3, gives date as 1864)

Building: ENGLAND, COWES (ISLE OF WIGHT), BRIDGE OVER RIVER MEDINA (PROPOSED)
Date: 1852
Nature: Design for proposed new bridge over River Medina exh. at Architectural Exhibition, London, 1852.
Refs: Civil Engineer and Architect's Journal 15 (Feb 1852), 3.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, LEINSTER LAWN, DUBLIN INDUSTRIAL EXHIBITION BUILDING
Date: 1852-53
Nature: Proposed design.
Refs: E.J. Diestelkamp, 'Richard Turner (c.1798-1881)and his glasshouses', Glasra 5 (1981), 52

Building: CO. CARLOW, LISNAVAGH
Date: 1853
Nature: Proposed conservatory for W.B. McClintock-Bunbury.
Refs: 3 elevations by RT, Hammersmith Ironworks, Ballsbridge, Dublin, 1853

Building: CO. CORK, BLACKROCK, BESSBOROUGH
Date: 1855ca-1860
Nature: Conservatory.
Refs: E.J. Diestelkamp, 'Richard Turner (c.1798-1881)and his glasshouses', Glasra 5 (1981), 52

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, GEORGE'S DOCK, BRIDGE
Date: 1859
Nature: Opening bridge by Turner & Gibson, invented and patented by their foreman, Michael Kenney erected at George's Dock.
Refs: DB 1, 1 Apr,1 May 1859, 41,61; 2, 1 Apr 1860, 236 and supplement.

Building: CO. KILKENNY, WOODSTOCK
Date: 1860ca
Nature: Conservatory.
Refs: E.J. Diestelkamp, 'Richard Turner (c.1798-1881)and his glasshouses', Glasra 5 (1981), 52

Building: ENGLAND, LONDON, EMBANKMENT OF RIVER THAMES
Date: 1861
Nature: RT an entrant in competition of 1861.
Refs: Civil Engineer and Architect's Journal 24 (Jul 1861), 192.

Building: CO. DUBLIN, DUBLIN, CARLISLE BRIDGE (NEW)
Date: 1862-64
Nature: Competition winner, in collaboration with George Gordon Page, but design executed to designs of Lanyon, Lynn & Lanyon, placed 2nd.
Refs: DB 4, 15 Aug 1862, 208,209(illus.),212; 6, 1 Apr 1864, 54; 7, 15 Jun 1865, 147; IB 12, 1 Jun,1 Jul,1 Sep 1870, 124,127,159-60,209; B 22, 26 Mar 1864, 228; design exh. RA. 1864, no. 805; 'Prize design' by RT exh. Dublin International Exhibition of Art & Manufactures, 1865, no. 140 (IALE, III, 722)

Building: ENGLAND, DUNCOMBE PARK (YORKSHIRE)
Date: ?
Nature: Conservatory for William, 2nd Baron Faversham.
Refs: B 14, 19 Apr 1856, 216

Building: ENGLAND, BIRMINGHAM (WARWICKSHIRE), NEW STREET, STATION
Date: ?
Nature: RT submits winning design, but contract given to an English firm.
Refs: B 14, 19 Apr 1856, 216

Building: CO. WESTMEATH, TUDENHAM
Date: ?
Nature: Designs for glasshouse porch &c. by Richard & William Turner in NLI.
Refs: NLI AD 3303-3304,3311,3317,3318,3319?,3370?

Author Title Date Details
Diestelkamp, Edward J. 'Richard Turner (c.1798-1881)and his glasshouses' 1981 Glasra 5 (1981), 51-53.
Drew, Thomas [Article on Richard Turner] 1880 Building News (1880) .(Iincomplete ref. in S.Minter, The Greatest Glass House (HMSO, 1990), 3,201.)
Turner, Richard 'Description of the Iron Roof over the Railway Station, Lime-street, Liverpool' 1850 Min.Proc.Inst.CE 9 (1849-50), 204-208 (illus.).